Last night I was having a bad case of the Sunday Blues. I slept in until about 1, worked out, then did homework until around 4 when I realized I was super hungry. My options were left over white bean chili, skyline chili, or make something completely new. I decided on the latter in order to pep myself up before I went to work at the IU Cinema for the evening.
I flipped through some food magazines that my Mom had saved for me and found an entire article titled, “Veggin’ Out” The article was based on a contest for the best meatless recipes. Garden Vegetable Lasagna by Samantha Neal won the contest, but my eyes were set on third place, where Katie Ferrier swept almost all of the competition with her Butternut Squash Risotto.
With a few alterations, I had the perfect dinner, and plenty of leftovers!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO
Altered form Taste of Home and Katie Ferrier
1 large butternut squash, cubed*
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups mock chicken, or vegetable, soup base (or broth, see below)*
2 cups water, divided
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gorgonzola cheese*
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine the squash, 2 Tablespoons oil, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to coat squash in oil and spice. Pour into a greased 13 x 11 glass baking pan.
Bake squash for 25 minutes, stirring once.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat soup base and 1 cup water; keep warm.
On medium-high heat and in a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in 1 Tablespoon Oil until onions are translucent.*
Add rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, while stirring.*
Reduce heat to medium, stir in 1 cup water. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.*
Add heated broth mixture to rice mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow liquid to absorb between each addition.
Continue to add liquid until risotto mixture is creamy and rice is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add butter, chili powder, nutmeg, and squash.*
Cook and stir until heated. Remove risotto from heat.
Stir in Gorgonzola until melted throughout.*
ACCORDING TO THE HEARTY HERBIVORE
*Here’s a brief overview on how to cube a squash! (Don’t bake it until after it’s cubed, though! Do steps 1-4 under “Directions,” then bake it according to the instructions here.) Basically microwave it, peel it, cut the ends off, halve it, gut it, cube it. Got it? 🙂 It’s okay if there’s still some skin on the squash. It’s edible!
*My roommate has mock chicken soup base for some reason. The original recipe called for lager and vegetable broth, which I didn’t have any of. So I decided to use something thicker than broth. I used a tablespoon of base:2 cups of water. If you decide to use lager, use one cup of water, and one cup of lager, instead of 2 cups of water.
*Have I ever told you Gorgonzola is my favorite cheese? I eat it on Aver’s Pizza almost every weekend, which needs to stop because I’m feeling the side effects when I get to the gym on Mondays. The Gorgonzola flavor in this risotto was subtle, but definitely made the recipe.
*When I say “large skillet,” I mean large skillet! We’re talking wok sized, here! I don’t own a wok, so I actually had to transfer everything to a stock pot when adding the butternut squash, etc.
*Keep the rice moving as soon as you add it to the onions or it will burn!
*If you decide to use lager, add 1 cup of lager instead of 1 cup of water after you cook the rice for 2-3 minutes.
*The risotto will begin to thicken when the soup base is absorbed. When the liquid is absorbed, there may still be some cream left, and that’s totally fine! That’s what makes it risotto!
*Make sure you incorporate the Gorgonzola throughout the risotto. I ate left overs today for lunch and found a giant chunk of Gorgonzola.Oops.I was cool with that though, since it’s my favorite!
First of all, this recipe makes a lot! Probably enough to serve 5 people.
This risotto is very hearty and filling, so a little goes a long way! The squash and nutmeg make the flavor sweet, but the chili powder and Gorgonzola balance everything out.
I ate about a cup as a serving and wasn’t hungry the rest of the night, which is basically a miracle for me!
BEST PART OF THE RECIPE
This recipe is super easy! Even though it takes a little time, it’s worth it and there’s nothing complicated about it! It’s a perfect recipe for impressing people and pretending you slaved away in the kitchen all day!